A 13-year-old teen is about to change the way we use solar panels. Aidan Dwyer, a teenage middle schooler from Long Island, New York, is already an inventor of solar panel arrangements. He created a contraption that replicates how trees and plants collect solar power, and created the most effective way for doing so.
While hiking in the Catskills, he took the time to observe the way branches of some trees are positioned. He then noticed a pattern in the branches above him and took photos of it. He said that the tangled branches “seemed to have a spiral pattern that reached up to the sky.” This led him to investigate whether the purpose of its spiral pattern is to collect sunlight more efficiently.
“I knew that branches and leaves collected sunlight for photosynthesis, so my next experiments investigated if the Fibonacci pattern helped,” Aidan explains. “The tree design takes up less room than flat-panel arrays and works in spots that don’t have a full southern view. It collects more sunlight in winter. Shade and bad weather like snow don’t hurt it because the panels are not flat. It even looks nicer because it looks like a tree. A design like this may work better in urban areas where space and direct sunlight can be hard to find.”
After the story broke online, one blog post claims to have disproved it. The blog has been taken down, but a summarized version can be read here.
Is this the future of solar power?